Jean Lafitte's Treasures Discovered? A reason for my Texas friends to cross the border!

Real Estate Agent with CENTURY 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s

Unique, "one of a kind", an expression of creativity is sometimes hard to find.  Those who live in larger cities might be surprised to  find treasures that the Lake Charles area offers.

Ond of several displays at Eighty-OneRecently, I located a treasure and an expression of Southwest Louisiana culture and history. 

When you visit Eighty-One located at 3708 Maplewood Drive, Sulphur, Louisiana, you temporarily travel back into yesteryear via vignettes scattered throughout the shop of stories written by Pierre on Cajun lifestyle and history.

Those familiar with the legend of Contraband Bayou and the basis of Contraband Days might think that the owner of Eighty-One, Pierre Fontentot, had discovered a significant portion of the famous pirate's "stash." 

I went into this shop for the first time in search of 2 vanities. Specifically, I was in search of an antique into which I could drop a basin.  

Creativity (just as the sign posted in front proclaims) abounds within the walls of Eighty-one.  I did not find my antique, but together we found wonderful parts and designed my vanities that day.

Pierre Fontenot, co-owner of Eighty-OneI asked Pierre how he came to name his antique shop eighty-one as I felt sure there was an interesting story to be heard. 

You will learn to appreciate the warm, friendly smile that slowly flows across Pierre's face as he tries to decide which tale he will share with me. 

He finally gives me an anthology of tales and says he often switches as to which one he recites. 

Sometimes in a jovial mood he will state that his establishment's name equals his IQ - NEVER believe that. 

The most likely source is that in the early years of traveling to various antique shows he repeatedly drew the same number as to the location in the roster; "eighty-one".  When it came time to name his shop, it just seemed logical, after all the years of success on the road with the number, to name his shop eighty-one.

Another display room!You will see a sign posted on the front of the shop that states, CREATIVITY.  This is an understatement. 

And, Pierre was living "Green" long before it became fashionable. 

He has a warehouse full of wonderful found objects, along with the antiques that he combines to make wonderful art objects that flow beautifully with any décor. 

Pierre proves that almost any item can have a second life if you put your thinking cap on, thus, the source of my "one of a kind" vanities.

I am posting several photos of  Eighty-One here knowing that my Texas friends will be highly interested in this spot on the map, and, since one of the major "perks" of my job helping those relocate to the Lake Charles area is to help them get to know all of Southwest Louisiana, I will soon post even more photos of Eighty-One on

I have seen the equivalent of Pierre's art work in many boutiques in Houston, Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, etc. at a much greater cost.  I am very pleased that Pierre is building the two vanities and they will be UNIQUE; not one of 10,000.

Front of shop

See photos of Contrband Days and other Lake Charles activities at

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Rick Huffman
Mortgage Banker - Kent, WA

Derenda, your blog is incredible. It is very informative and interactive. Nice job! How long did it take you to create this Blog?

Nov 10, 2008 10:16 PM #1

Hi Rick,

Thank you very much.  It was a pleasure to work with Pierre on this blog post.  The photo session took place during one of our planning sessions for my vanities.  He is a true Louisiana "Keeper of the Culture".  I am working on getting him to blog his knowledge of our area and his travels, etc.  He'll be great.

Nov 10, 2008 11:20 PM #2
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Derenda, What a fun place! I love eclectic shops and can spend hours there!!

Nov 12, 2008 08:05 AM #3

Hi Connie,

You are so right.  Pierre has collected treasures from all over the United States and beyond, but of course his emphasis is Louisiana.  His knowledge of his treasures makes your visit more memorable and interesting.  Truly a treat.

Nov 12, 2008 10:09 AM #4
Judi Morgan
Kimberly Howell Properties - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio, TX Real Estate

Oh!!  Derenda, this sounds heavenly!!!  I can't wait to see your vanities!!!   You will post pictures of them won't you!?!   You already know I have to put this place on my list of places to visit either on my next trip home to Lake Charles or at least the one following (if I run out of time).

By the way, we're going to have to cut our trip down by 1 day.  Don had to take an "emergency day of vacation" last week.  So we'll have to leave a day earlier than originally planned.  :(   But we'll still  have time to visit and I hope we have time to visit 81.  :)

Oh, by the way, my Dad used to always tell me stories about Jean Lafitte and that he was really one of my relatives...who knows...haven't been able to prove it.   :)

Nov 12, 2008 05:01 PM #5
Derenda Grubb
CENTURY 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s - Lake Charles, LA

Hi Judi,

I cannot believe that you will have to cut your visit.  But we will just have to put everything on fast pace.  Oh, of course I will put photos on the blog.  I wouldn't keep you guys in total suspense like that.  It is getting closer to being time for things to start culminating.  What day will you arrive now?

Nov 12, 2008 06:58 PM #6
Judi Morgan
Kimberly Howell Properties - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio, TX Real Estate

Derenda, we're arriving on the same day -- will leave there a day earlier than originally planned...just sent you an email.  :)

Nov 12, 2008 07:43 PM #7

Hi Judi,

I got the email, just seconds after posting the question.  LOL.

Nov 12, 2008 08:45 PM #8
Liz Moras
Harrison Hot Springs, Cultus Lake - Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack Realtor, Garrison Crossing,Chilliwack, Abbotsford

Absolutely love this localism post.........the store looks so intriguing!

Nov 14, 2008 10:17 PM #9

Hi Liz,

It is an absolutely enchanting place to visit.  I tease, telling Pierre he must move things every time I go in because I see something different.    He probably doesn't, there is just so much to see, that it seems that way.  You would love to visit Louisiana, just as I truly enjoyed BC.  Thanks for dropping in. 

Nov 14, 2008 10:33 PM #10
Gail MacMillan
Titusville, FL

Hi Derenda - What an enjoyable story, you brought the store to life for me and did a great job of making Pierre so real and full of character.  Like Judy, I would love to see the vanities when they're done.

Gail MacMillan Titusville Fl Real Estate

Nov 22, 2008 10:39 AM #11
Charlie Harden
Columbia, SC

Derenda, Pierre seems like quite a 'find'.  Well done in getting his story out there!

Nov 23, 2008 09:11 AM #12


That is exactly how I felt.  I thougt I had made the discovery of the year.  Right here under my nose , but I had not met Piere before.  He and his shop together - treasurers.  Thank you for your comments.

Nov 23, 2008 11:59 AM #13
Ricki Eichler McCallum
Keller Williams Island Properties - Corpus Christi, TX
Broker,GRI,ABR, - Your Coastal Bend Home Source

Wonderful post and such an interesting place. Maybe one day I will get to visit.

Nov 23, 2008 06:52 PM #14

Hi Ricki,

It is a great place and I would think it would have many things of interest for you.  I have been to Kerrville before and visited some of its specialty shops.  I found some similarities in his shop and the ones there, other than the Cajun art pieces and antiques.  He has a selection of work and pieces from all over the US.  Let me know if you make it this way.  Maybe we can meet for lunch, coffee, or something.  Thanks for dropping in.

Nov 23, 2008 09:08 PM #15

Hi Gail,

I am so very pleased that you enjoyed the post.  It is truly easy to relate the story in a way that shows the full character of Pierre.  He is a charming individual that is full of many life stories and interesting bits of knowledge.  I will be pleased to have pictures of the vanities on a post when we get them in place.  I can hardly wait myself.

Nov 23, 2008 09:43 PM #16
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